Before we conquer Jaipur, we visit the Monkey Temple (Galwar Bagh) near Jaipur. The monkeys can be quite like thieves and you should avoid them and their teeth.
Jaipur, the pink city
The nickname "Pink City" was as given to Jaipur on the occasion of a visit of the Prince of Wales in 1853. The then ruler painted the whole city pink to welcome the royal guest.
No one should miss visiting the Amber Fort. Here is more like the sets of an old movie with Maharajas, tigers, temple dancers, and elephants. From here you can have a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. The painted elephants invite for a ride.
Among the highlights of the afternoon, visit the Hawa Mahal with its fabulous façade. Then we go to the open-air observatory of Jantar Mantar. And then the City Palace, which is still inhabited by the royal family.
In Jaipur, the colorful bazaars of the old town and spice traders fascinate us. The color splendor mixed with the potpourri of different smells is an experience. Our shopping was at the Johri Bazar. When shopping, you need a lot of patience in India. You have to bargain with the seller down to half his price. While drinking Chai tea with him and even take photos of his children. A time-consuming but amusing ritual.
The coolest and most authentic experience in Jaipur was for me a Bollywood evening. It was in the oldest cinema of all South East Asia, the Raj Mandir. An ingenious experience, that I recommend you!
Pushkar, the colorful dream by the lake
Our tour continues to Pushkar, a rather small place. It is one of the holiest places in India. Pushkar is famous for the famous camel market, which takes place every year in November. There is also the Brahma temple, the only one in India. At the camel market in Pushkar, there was an exception. Thousands of colorful turbans, glittering saris, and about 50,000 camels - India as it lives!
I looked at the colorful hustle and bustle of the camels. Taking off shoes is almost always necessary. In cold months you should take socks because the floors can be very frosty.
Around the Pushkar Lake is the most beautiful sight in the city. You will find countless narrow and quaint lanes, which are ideal for a small and comfortable walk. On the lake itself, you can spend several hours and watch the colorful bustle of the devotees. For me, pushkar like Varanasi was small and cozy. The locals wash and bathe in the sacred water of the lake, and everywhere on the bank priests bless the people. In the meantime, funny monkeys and the ubiquitous cows are doing their fun with the visitors.
Blue in all shades in Jodhpur
We continue to Jodhpur, the city with the Mehrangarh Fort lying on a ridge. It stands on a 125-meter high hill and is one of the most impressive buildings in Rajasthan. Not far away are the Jain temples of Ranakpur.
There are some of the most elaborate and beautiful temples of Rajasthan. Art lovers from all over the world flock to this architectural masterpiece. This decorated temple complex has a surreal beauty.
There are impressive 24 pillar halls. The entire complex of the Adinatha Temple has 1,440 columns. The atmosphere of this lively temple keeps you trapped for a long time. The Surya Narayana Temple and the Parsvanatha Temple also belong to the temple group.
So how about a delicious dinner there after an ingenious sightseeing day? The chana masala, chili paneer, and the garlic naan were divine as well as the mango lassi.
The white city of Udaipur
Udaipur is one of the most beautiful cities in Rajasthan during a round trip through India. Through the artificial lakes, Udaipur is also called the city of lakes. In the Pichola Lake is the Lake Palace Hotel with Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas. There is also the Rang Lake, the Swaroop Lake, and the Fateh Lake.
My girlfriend and I enjoy this small town by the river and lake. Here you can relax, without the traffic jam of the big city. With a cup of Chai in my hand, I sat there for hours in the warm evening sun. What a show! At night, when the small islands are lit on Lake Pichola, the city seems to spring from a fairy tale book. It all seemed very familiar to me that I had often seen the James Bond classic Octopussy, which got shot here.
In the evening we visited a Marionette dance event in Udaipur and ate delicious Thalis. The Thali consists of small bowls, which contain vegetables, meat or small side dishes. With it are also served rice and flatbread on a round tray, also called Thali. In some restaurants, the bowls get refilled as often as you like - a kind of all-you-can-eat-thali.
As a drink, there were often excellent Indian beers or ginger tea. I could not enjoy the coffee. It was often boiled with ginger water or an aqueous solution of soluble coffee powder.
My favorite place to stay in Udaipur is Janak Niwas, Sahiwalo ki Gali. You can even take a good cooking course in the evening.
Almost next door is a beautiful temple, which I visited in the evening. I was lucky enough to be there at the right time. Because there was a pretty impressive ceremony with singing and dancing. I would have liked to spend the whole night in the temple with the celebrities. Pure goosebumps!
The golden desert city of Jaisalmer
We continue to the desert. Jaisalmer is near the border with Pakistan. From here you can book multi-day desert tours with camels. The city is also called the golden city due to its yellow-brown sandstone buildings. The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fortresses in the world. Built in the 12th century, the building is on a hill overlooking the town.
The Karni Mata Temple is in the small town of Deshnok about 30 kilometers south of Bikaner. This temple is also known beyond the borders of India, especially as a sacred temple of rats. According to rough estimates, about 20,000 rats live in the temple. You should look for the rare white rats because they are particularly holy. If you find one of them, you can even wish for something! I did not find any white, but had more fun with the brown ones!
Everywhere there are rooftop restaurants, which offer delicious food and drink all day. How about a spicy chai overlooking the dunes of Jaisalmer? The fort is by the way completely inhabited and the narrow pretty alleys invite you to stroll and shop. I even made a henna tattoo there - as a reminder of a wonderful day in a quite interesting city.
The best location to watch the sunset is the sand dunes about 30 kilometers from Jaisalmer. On the camel ridge, you can go to a beautiful vantage point on the highest dune. After the sunset, you can camp for a traditional music and dance performance.
Bikaner, the red citadel
Bikaner is our next travel destination. It was a strategic location for the old caravan routes to Central Asia. Bikaner has become a very popular city in the past. The Old Town has the all-outstanding Junagarh Fort. At the same time, the city palace has a seven-kilometer-long wall with five gates. Castles and palaces were also created here from reddish-pink sandstone. It shows the huge proportions of the facility.
Mandawa is a popular stopover between Bikaner and Jaipur. The center of Mandawa is the palace. In the large archways, there are frescoes by Lord Krishna and cows. Here we lived in a former Haveli in a nice ambiance.
The journey took us to the Ranthambore National Park. With the jeep, we passed the gate into the park. Through a lake landscape, we drove into sector 3 of the park. It was nice to see mountains and green landscapes again and enjoy this oasis of peace. We saw peacocks, lemurs, deer, antelopes, monkeys and many birds. Only the tiger has not shown us!
Next stop was Bundi
This small town is still almost unaffected by tourism and is very idyllic. The blue-washed houses and the winding alleys invite you to great walks. The people are very nice. A nice "Namaste" can get heard here from everyone and everywhere. Above the village is the Bundi Palace, the palace of a former Maharajah. During our visit, we were almost alone. And the atmosphere in absolute peace was indescribable.
By train and open jeeps, we went on to Bassi, a small Indian village. An absolute highlight was the night in a family-run palace on a mountain high above Bassi. The train journey to Ajmer took 7 hours since our train had got delayed.
The next morning we went back to Delhi with the plane and a day later unfortunately back home.